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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, 17 Jun 2007
By 
Mrs. A. M. Chadwick (Darwen, Lancashire, England) - See all my reviews
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This is the first time I've read anything by the author Adrian Tinniswood and I wasn't disappointed.

I've never read anything about the Great Fire of London before and we didn't cover it in history at school to any great length, all I knew was were it started and what a mess it created.

Adrian has done a lot of research for this historical book and has included a lot of information. He's looked at it for all sides and how it affected not just the Londoners but the rest of the country as well.

The fire happened before the bubonic plague had finished and during the Anglo-Dutch war. There have been conspiracies about whom and why it had been started and this book answers a lot of those questions.

He focuses on the leading personalities like the gallant Duke of York, the hapless Sir Thomas Bludworth, the fussy Samuel Pepys, and the visionary Sir Christopher Wren.

The author also describes the long term consequences of the fire for example the rebuilding of the City, the emergence of fire insurance, and the exodus of noxious trades into the outer reaches of the capital.

This book was really interesting and informative, (it also includes black and white illustrations of how London looked at the time).

Personally I found it a compulsive read, Adrian draws you into all walks of life that were being lead at the time and how everyone coped with it. This is a book I will read again, it was worth the novel and for teenagers and adults alike who want to find out about the great fire of London this is an excellent book and I'd recommend it. :-)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough and well-written account, 13 Aug 2008
By 
A. McAuley (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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Firstly a confession, despite or perhaps because of my occupation as a teacher of History, I read very few History texts. However a favourable review by a colleague led me to Tinniswood's excellent book.

Tinniswood has clearly researched this volume meticulously, drawing on previous histories of the Great Fire and a wealth of primary material. The events of 1666 are carefully placed within the political and social context of the period, in particular the Restoration and reign of Charles II and the wars against the Dutch. The unfolding of the Fire itself is recounted with an eye for fascinating details, such as Samuel Pepys burying his Parmesan cheese as the fire drew near to his home. Again Tinniswood draws expertly upon the contemporary accounts and evidence. Tinniswood also cleverly examines the aftermath of the Fire, in particular the process by which the rebuilding of London was undertaken and the way in which compensation was provided to the many thousands who had lost homes or livelihoods.

Tinniswood's account also touches upon contemporary themes; the treatment of the many migrants living in seventeenth century London during and after the events of 1666, and the desire to blame foreign agents for deliberately starting the fire. These issues are dealt with sensitively and expertly.

I would recommend this volume to anyone interested in this fascinating historical event. Tinniswood has produced an account that is strongly rooted in thorough historical research, whilst maintaining an engaging written style.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging writing, meticulous research, broad perspective, 20 Dec 2008
By 
Martin Turner "Martin Turner" (Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This is an engaging book, which takes a broad look at the background and consequences of the fire, alongside a detailed and compelling account of the events themselves.

Most popular accounts of the Great Fire draw heavily on Samuel Pepys, but Tinniswood goes substantially beyond Pepys to bring a wide range of contemporary sources, including other diarists, popular songs, official records, and later histories. This is both much better history, and vastly more exciting writing.

Tinniswood frequently juxtaposes the hopes and fears of the protagonists with what happened immediately afterwards. In this way, he brings a fine sense of historic irony to his account. For example, just a week before the fire, Christopher Wren and others were arguing in St Paul's Cathedral about how it should be repaired, following previous damage.

He also places it in a cultural context that few of us are really aware of. The importance of the year 1666 had been widely picked by astrologers and thinkers for a number of reasons, none of which make any sense to most modern people, but which had together combined to fill the city with foreboding. Likewise, the fury vented by the citizens on the French, Dutch and other foreigners would be hard to grasp in today's world, without the author's careful development of the importance of the Dutch war before the fire began.

The picture of London before the Great Fire which he gives us is one of a surprisingly late medieval town. The aftermath of the fire marks the beginning of the modern city.

Fascinating reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate and Fascinating, 23 Jun 2010
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This book contains all the background you did not know you wanted to know, until you saw it written down. Fascinating facts like the sad situation that much of fire-fighting then was about pulling buildings down with firehooks to create fire breaks.

Many personalities are in here too which lends the book great readability, and there is a plethora of geographical information about the extent of the fire and how it affected the future London.

Interesting too is the description of the aftermath of the fire - how people rescued their goods, and the folk with nowhere to go camped out on Moorfields.A city in panic with the attendant political consequences - the Dutch were scapegoated, for example - is brought to life with great vividness and thorough research.

Can't recommend this highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fire of London, 2 April 2009
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I could not stop reading it when I first recieved it, a while back. I found it very interesting and factual. With quotes from the people at the time and samples of poems. I have yet to finish reading the book. But what I have read so far I have enjoyed. And I hope when I have finished, someone else will.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read, 31 May 2013
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J. F. Drinkwater (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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Followed this up after watching the TV programme based on it, and found it well written, entertaining and highly informative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The great fire of London, 17 Dec 2012
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This review is from: By Permission Of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London (Kindle Edition)
I brought this book to learn more about the great fire of London and I wasn't disappointed it's a good readable account of the events of 1666.
Recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read, 25 May 2012
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This was a very readable and multi-faceted examination of this famous event, with a particular focus on the aftermath of the event (the conflagration is extinguished less than half way through the book). This deals extensively with the commendably rapid restoration of the city which got underway very quickly afterwards; the differing plans for reconstruction of the streets (some of which are so soulessly geometric one is grateful they were not taken forward); and, of course, though surprisingly briefly, with Wren's new St Paul's. On the positive side, many other communities in England raised considerable sums of money for stricken and homeless Londoners. On the other hand, another factor extensively covered is the widespread but erroneous view that the fire was deliberately started by Dutch or Catholic plotters, with indiscriminate attacks on foreigners during the events and "Papists" even officially blamed on the inscription near the Monument in Pudding Lane for a century and a half afterwards. It was clearly an emotionally shattering and destabilising event for contemporaries, especially after the Great Plague the year before. Excellent read, and quotes from Pepys always add colour.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pity we weren't taught like this at school, 12 Feb 2012
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Marie Evans "mar1e" (gosport, hampshire, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: By Permission Of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London (Kindle Edition)
Just finished reading the book, and its fantastic. It doesn't just tell you about the fire, but the lead up to the fire and all that happened afterwards, plenty of characters who did alot for London after the fire, that deserve some recognition for all their works that we didn't hear about in school.

This isn't a book that you can just pick up and read, I found that I had to have peace and quiet to be able to concentrate on all that is written, but well worth it - give it a go.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE OUT OF FIVE, 11 Sep 2011
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Utterly fascinating - An education on the history of England woven into the tale of that fateful fire. Well written and worth the read.
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